10 Tips to Use Your Outdoor Space Properly

The patio, garden, or balcony are there for our enjoyment. A way for us to be outside and near our home. To entertain and to relax.

They are also often underused because they clutter up so easily and looked unloved. Forcing us indoors and away from nature’s window.

They increase a home value massively too. Here’s 10 Tips to Use Your Outdoor Space Properly to get you started.

10 Tips to Use Your Outdoor Space Properly

1. Declutter

I approach this topic many times in various blogs and again I cannot stress how important it is to begin any task first by decluttering.

That old rusted BBQ, the nearly empty compost bag, the dead lifeless plants sitting in pots making your space cluttered. Everything you are no longer using and been meaning to dispose of or repair, make the effort to do it.

There is a life lesson here, that can be applied to any area:

Clutter is always associated with a task and continually reminds us of its presence.

Maurice Randall

Everywhere you look in your home, something will remind you of a task that needs doing. It crowds our brains and fills our capacity to live enjoyable lives.

For example; When the old BBQ broke last year and was left to sit on the decking, every time you look at it you are reminded that it either needs to be repaired or needs to be disposed of. That’s precious enjoyment being sucked straight from you.

De-Clutter first.

2. Repair any Defects

This is a necessary step. If you have broken decking, walls that need repair, or just dirt and moss wiped away, now is the time to tackle it.

PRO TIP: You don’t need to do it all in a day.

What I mean is, no matter how tired we feel, 5 minutes each day accomplishes a task far quicker than if we try to find a full day to finish everything.

The greatest lesson about persistence and perseverance I learned was from a true story called Callum’s Road. Callum Macleod started to build his own road to the his village because no one else would and armed with just a wheel barrow, pick and shovel he would daily work to create the road.

It took him 10 years, but he managed to complete the road to Arnish and created a lasting memorial.

If Callum could build a road one barrow at a time, we can all do a little more to maintain a space right outside our doors I think.

3. Brighten it up

Once you have your space decluttered, and the repairs made, it’s time to brighten the area up with a little colour. Perhaps you like the look of bare wood and want to stain it or preserve it, or you like latest colour trend to make your space that little bit special.

Choose what you like. There are so many options for every taste. I have seen bright white, and battleship grey. I have seen stained wood and textured finishes. Every time I have seen a space where someone has been busy maintaining it, it wasn’t the choice of colour that made it great, it was that someone had tried to make it great.

That little effort makes a huge difference. It will lighten the mood. Provide ideas for next time you are changing colours and best of all you will be creating a space you love to be in.

4. Furniture

This is obviously dependent on budget and location but a little furniture that can stay outside permanently is certainly encouraged here.

Think of it this way. A chair that is already set up outside makes you more likely to go and sit outside. But, if you have to go and get a chair to sit outside, you will rarely make the effort.

So set up a chair, a bench, even a wooden stump to have something permanent to quickly sit outside even if it is only for a few sips of coffee before heading back in.

If you have a small space, set a little table up too, or if you have plenty of space, get a larger one. You’ll love that you can just pop outside, sit for a little while and then go back indoors.

5. Plants

Not everyone wants the hassle of plants, but I can say that a few pot plants that flower for you through the summer will brighten your mood.

If you are not green-fingered, not a problem. Rather get a small pot that can hold a local plant, that is hardy to the weather. Plant and leave it be. It’ll get on with living and be unaffected by the rain, ice, snow, or blazing sun. (Support your local garden center and ask them for tips, they are better informed and more willing to help than a general store)

The other option for plants are bulbs you plant out to appear in spring and summer, or just a few packets of seed, sprinkled here and there to burst into life and provide some natural colour and food for our precious pollinators.

6. Lighting

Get your lighting right.

There is nothing worse than sitting outdoors with the setting sun and the security light keeps flashing on and off every time someone moves.

Find the switch to turn it off when you are outside, and instead, purchase either some solar lighting (requiring no wiring and just push into the ground), or string up some outdoor lights that provide a soft glow as the evening moves on.

These are all inexpensive options and can be changed each year as your mood takes you or if you keep changing your outdoor theme.

7. Fire Pits and BBQ’s

Okay, this is not for everyone, but before you rush past there are alternatives, so stick with me.

If your space allows it a fire pit or chimenea is a great addition to any evening. It will mean buying wood, storing wood, and disposing of the ash. All considerations for the look of your space, but the warmth and the atmosphere is always great.

The alternative is to buy a gas patio heater or infared patio heater. They are clean and easy to store and create no smoke.

When it comes to BBQ’s, coals are always better for the ideal meal, but a gas BBQ solves that problem for you too if you want to have a quick outdoor space to enjoy a meal.

Your space should be used and enjoyed, and finding these alternative solutions to make it a great place to relax at home should be a top priority.

8. Storage

I was going to write this tip after point 3 so that it could be incorporated, but thought to include it here as you are nearing the end of the post to think about where you will keep all the bits and bobs you need to make the outside feels cosy.

There are seats with storage built in that make a handy place to store your items, and there are small cupboard style storage solutions too.

Increasing in size are sheds that are great to put the larger items in like chairs that you use for larger parties, hammocks, and umbrellas.

Some of the things you will need storage for are coal, wood, seating covers, bbq’s and also candles. Of course you can get a cover for a bbq so it stays out permenantly, or a bin, to store your coal in along with old newspapers and firelighters for your fire.

It’s not a major issue, but certainly a consideration, because without knowing where everything is going to be kept, you will end up with a different clutter problem.

9. Maintenance

Stay on top of it. It is as simple as that. I refer back to Callum’s Road and the lesson he taught me. Little and often makes any job possible.

Whether it is pulling a single weed each time you go outside, or keep the leaves from collecting in the corners, every single effort will inspire you to be outside more and enjoy the space you have.

10. Food for the Soul

This should be the primary reason for doing anything outside, and creating an environment that allows you to enjoy that outside world, will benefit you so much more.

It’s taking a few minutes sitting on a bench or drinking a coffee that will lighten the mood and allow us all to enjoy the world we live in.

It’s enjoying the chats we have with friends and eating food together away from the screens that demand so much of our time today.

It’s stopping for a few peaceful moments, in your own space, and enjoying what you have created.

Any outside space ought to be cherished as much as possible. To make it your own, slowly but surely turning it into a haven to enjoy alone or with family and friends.

The little flourishes of lights, colours and flowers will make it your unique take on the world and will inspire you to enjoy your home more.

Use your outdoor space properly and try not to let it get so cluttered that just looking out the window brings you down. It should always lift you up.

Maurice Randall, Estate Agent, Glasgow, Scotland
Maurice Randall

Maurice is a Glasgow Based Estate Agent, working with clients to maximise the value of their homes in the Scottish property market. 

Helping to sell, buy and find homes in and around Glasgow, Maurice is part of making those dreams a reality for clients wishing to move or finding their next home and offers a number of services to support and guide clients to a successful conclusion.